Danny Barrera and Kenny Hada of San Marcos are the core members of a band called Manus that plays shows here in town and up in Austin. Kenny is on vocals and guitar while Danny hits the drums and they’ve been playing together as Manus for about four years now with no plans to stop rocking any time soon.
Manus sounds like a funky jam session with Jimi Hendrix and Rage Against the Machine – both artists they list as influences. When asked about their other influences, Kenny replied; “I’m a big Mike Patton fan so I like a lot of Tomahawk and of course Faith No More, also the classics like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. Stevie Ray Vaughn was my idol for a long time in high school.”
“The influences have only continued to grow,” added Danny. “Before we were kind of limited and it was really just funk rock groups, but it’s evolved to where we’re becoming influenced by world music, by electronica and dance music too. I’d say at the moment we’re funk-rock. Some of our biggest influences have been from that particular style of music. I’ve got to admit I’ve always felt a good connection with that field. That being said, we’re not afraid to jump into other genres and tap into that at all. We’ve done so in the past.”
“I’m getting into a lot of world music. I’m trying to incorporate that into future songs that we may come up with. We’re both Mexican-Americans. Our influences are everywhere,” said Kenny.
At Lucy’s this last week, Manus played an intense show. The set consisted of their original songs, ranging from crooning love songs to hardcore rock session material. Kenny Hada writes the songs with the added input of Danny. A couple of their favorite songs to play were included.
“I’m a big fan of one of our new songs, ‘Myself’,” Danny commented. “I like this song ‘Sex in Space’ that we closed with and ‘A Thousand Feelings.’”
“My favorite song,” mused Kenny, “would have to be the new one that he mentioned; ‘Myself,’ I like that one because I explored the heavier side of my feelings and some of the darker side with the lyrics. Also ‘Initiative,’ I like playing that one because I love the changes in it. I love that melody. That one just came out by accident. The spirit was there revealing itself to us. The first line is “we got to get up off our ass and take some action in our lives.” That whole line just kept repeating itself in my head. I couldn’t get rid of it. I thought, ‘what are my parents going to think of me cussing in a song?’ After a while, as I started writing, the song revealed itself to me and it’s much more than just the words. The message is a deeper meaning.”
“We really take pride in being such a small band, a trio, with a bigger sound,” Kenny added. “That’s a personal goal to me, to have a big sound live and in the studio with just three people playing instruments.”
As regulars in the San Marcos scene, both Kenny and Danny have a healthy appreciation for playing here. “Our favorite place to play in San Marcos is Lucy’s. I love Lucy’s. It’s a great atmosphere,” Kenny declared. “Great people. You hand out flyers and you ask people to come out to the show to check us out at least and here people actually do it. Lucy’s here has done a good job of attracting the college crowd. The sound is wonderful. It’s got that old western bar feel to it. ”
“Yet at the same time with a modern twist in the fact that it’s got a great PA system,” remarked Danny. “The crowds that are here usually are very attentive and very into it so it’s really a pleasure to play at this place.”
“We just like to have a good time,” said Danny, “all the time. I think that we offer not only the audience out there, but other musicians alike, music that they not only can connect with on an emotional level, but that they can groove to just for fun. I think that’s wonderful. Whenever I see the audience getting into it I just feel a sentimental feeling in my heart; like I’m helping them feel better and I’m adding to their emotions.”
Manus stays pretty active playing around this area. Their next show is at the Red Eyed Fly in Austin on October 9. For more info or to listen to some of their songs, check out www.myspace.com/manustheband.
By SARAH STEVENS